Into the trepid jungle of Africa strode a young Scotch woman intent on spreading the gospel of Christ. She was a small, naturally timid woman, but nothing was too perilous when the cause of Christ was at stake.

Mary Slessor found Jesus as a slum child in a textile factory and instantly gave her life to Him. Born in Aberdeen, Scotland, she had high dreams of evangelizing  the little black children of Calabar, Africa. When not working at the factory or studying, she was playing at teaching a class full of little black boys and girls. She prayed to be sent to Calabar. When she grew older, she took on a class of wild street children for Bible instruction. She wept for Calabar. She took on a Sabbath School class. Still she longed for Calabar. She worked at the mill, and cared for her family. On and on she labored, until the Lord gave peace and direction to follow her dreams. Inspired by David Livingstone she applied to a mission board and was accepted. On August 5, 1876, at age twenty-eight, she reached that ominous continent, Africa, “The White Man’s Grave.” Besides her experience as a mill-worker and  the training of her mission board, she had her faith in God and a small thin body absolutely committed to his will. She had made it to the Dark Continent!

Mary took God’s promises at face value, never halted by discomfort or danger. Nothing was greater than her courage or her faith in God, and that is what made her great. Openly challenging the power of chiefs and witch doctors, she hand carved the destiny of an entire country. She was able to abolish twin murder, wife murder, wholesale slaughter at the death of a chief, and numerous other demonic practices. She spent forty years untangling the feudal disputes of naked savages and winning them to Christ one by one, each conversion a victory felt by hundreds of lives.

Many wonder at the power Mary possessed, one who had no Bible college degree, linguistic training, or even a high school diploma. How was she able to accomplish so much? Her years in Calabar were not the effect of her greatness; no, they were the result of her determination as a teenager to be used of God. She saw not what she could do for Him, but the lives that needed touching, the souls that needed reaching. She saw them in Calabar, but first she saw them in Aberdeen. First she worked in Aberdeen. She was surrounded by hurting people, and she touched them.